Senator John McCain said on CBS’s Face the Nation that he was ashamed of the country’s response to the war in Ukraine.
“I’m ashamed of my country, I’m ashamed of my president and I’m ashamed of myself that I haven’t done more to help these people,” McCain said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
He also had harsh words for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, whom McCain said “legitimized for the first time in 70 years the dismemberment of a country in Europe.”
Merkel and Hollande helped broker a recent cease-fire between Ukraine and Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country. The tenuous agreement has been violated several times already and is at risk of collapsing entirely.
McCain is one of the U.S. lawmakers who is pushing President Obama to provide the Ukrainian military with lethal weapons so it can extract a higher cost on Russia for territorial incursions.
“The Ukrainians aren’t asking for American boots on the ground; that’s not the question here. They’re asking for weapons to defend themselves and they are being slaughtered and their military is being shattered,” McCain said. “Some of the best Russian special forces are there and they will continue this aggression for as long as they can get away with it…[Russian President] Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine not to be part of Europe and he is succeeding in doing so.”
At a news conference with Merkel earlier this month, Mr. Obama said he has not yet made a decision on whether to send lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military but followed Merkel in continuing to call for a diplomatic resolution.
As long as much of the world pretends that Russia is not sending men and armor into Ukraine to fight alongside the rebels, no amount of weapons will make a difference for Kiev. You can understand McCain’s frustration but I think in this case, he’s missing the point. As long as Putin can continue to engineer these fake “cease fires” that really aren’t cease fires at all, the war will continue and the rebels will keep winning. In the meantime, the west is prevented from sending weapons by the possibility that Russia will escalate and more “vacationing” Russian troops and their armor will find themselves fighting in eastern Ukraine.
McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham have both stated that sending lethal aid to Kiev would force Russia’s hand and expose their involvement. That may be, but it could also lead to escalation and no one wants to start down that road. So much of the world keeps pretending that Putin is telling the truth, and the Ukraine government keeps losing its territory.
Putin won’t stop until he has a sizable chunk of Ukraine to form a buffer state. We can expect this cease fire to last only as long as the rebels need to regroup and refit.